Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, Cocker's research focuses on artistic processes and practices, and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ emerging therein; on models of (art) practice and subjectivity that resist the pressure of a single, stable position by remaining wilfully unresolved. Her mode of working unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. Cocker's practice involves ‘contiguous writing’ — a mode of creative-critical writing that seeks to touch upon rather than being explicitly about. Her writing has been published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2010; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012; Reading/Feeling (Affect), 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and as a solo collection, The Yes of the No, 2016.

Event: Reading as a ‘Critical Poetic’ Practice

Reading as a ‘Critical Poetic’ Practice
23 May 2018: 5.30 – 7.00
Nottingham Trent University

Image: from Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, an artistic research project with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil

Taking its point of departure from Michelle Boulous Walker’s Slow Philosophy: Reading Against the Institution and Georges Perec’s ‘Reading: A Socio-physiological Outline’, this reading group will explore: What might a ‘critical poetic’ mode of reading look/feel like? What kinds of (alternative) knowledge or ‘sense making’ are produced through experimental practices of reading? The intent is to consider the relations between reading and slowness through an experimental, experiential approach.

Different methods of reading can generate different registers of affect; there is scope for testing experimental tactics. Texts do not always need to be read in a linear or logical way, but rather can be dipped into, allowing for detours and distractions. A single sentence might open in one book, close in another. Certain sections are lingered over, whilst others skimmed past. Reading is not bound by the chronology of a text’s unfolding. Attention can be activated mid-sentence or half way down a page. Words are sonorous as much as signifying units; the soundness of a text tested by tongue and lips as much as by the mind. Certain language must be rolled in the mouth before it can be fully digested. Texts resonate at different frequencies according to their enunciation. New meanings are revealed by changed inflection, in the pauses and durations breathed between the words.  (Emma Cocker, fragments from ‘Reading Towards Becoming Causal’, in Reading/Feeling: Affect Reader, If I Can’t Dance … 2013)